Thursday, December 29, 2011

Weight Gain During the Holidays

Before you go looking for the best weight loss pills or chugging smilling teas, do take in mind that the weight gain didn't happen overnight, so neither should the weight loss. Sure, it may have happened over 12 days (or a month, depends how early you started merrymaking) but it will always be healthier to do it naturally first.

Start with eating more fruits and vegetables, and ridding your body of toxins.

Drink plenty of water.

Stop slouching.

Engage in more activities.

And start reducing the sweets, the salty, the fatty in your diet.

If you did not gain that much to start with, it shouldn't be a problem losing the gained weight. And until then, you can always dress up in ways that create the illusion of a slim silhouette.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Colonial Experience at Villa Tortuga in Taal

Looking for a different kind of date? What about a cute pre-nuptial photoshoot idea? Wondering how it was in Spanish times? Then, Villa Tortuga's Colonial Experience might just be what you are looking for.

Taal is a whole town of Spanish heritage waiting to be revisited. One of its more prominent attractions is Villa Tortuga which offers the splendor of Spanish times via decor, costumes, accommodations and meals.

The itinerary usually goes as follows:

Departure from Manila
10:00 AM Estimated time of arrival in Taal,
Meeting place will be at the Basilica of St. Martin de Tours and tour begins here in the Basilica proceed to Marcela Agoncillo - the flag maker
11:00 AM then from Agoncillo, proceed to Villa Tortuga for costume pictorial and lunch
12:00 AM lunch at Villa Tortuga,
1:00 PM Our Lady of Caysasay,
1:30 PM Sta. Lucia Well
2:00 PM Proceed to Leon Apacible Ancestral House - the cabinet member of Gen. E. Aguinaldo
2:30 PM Proceed to Galeria de Taal - collection of old cameras and rare pictures
3:00 PM Villavicencio Ancestral House- 100 pesos extra charge to visit the house
3:30 PM Shopping at the Market - the only World Bank funded market
4:00 PM Departure for Manila

The tour costs P1,500 per person for a minimum of 4 people. They also require advance reservations and a 50%DP at least 3 days before the reserved date.

Also note that there is a donation of P100.00 as entrance to the Villavicencio House. Villa Tortuga can also work with you if you need something extra arranged, like a small anniversary cake that you have ordered as a surprise to your special someone or whatever you may have planned.

How cute would it be to dine in those outfits?!

Heck, it would even make teaching your kids about the Spanish times more meaningful and fun if they can see you play pretend in those outfits. Haha. Yes, I am obsessed with the possibility of dressing up in costume.

Know more at or contact Lito Perez @ 0917824-6900/ 0927-975-1683.

(Personally too, I think now is the best time to do this since it isn't THAT hot. Imagine wearing period costumes in the heat of summer!)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Gifts for the Season

If you're still thinking of what to give to your beloved, why not just play to the season's cooler/cold/frigid weather? Consider giving Dan Post Boots, a multitude of scarves (there are some designs that are reversible, and you can just DIY some too by just buying fabric and sewing it into a tube to make infinity scarves), gloves, heavy jackets or coats and extra pairs of socks.

If you're not comfortable giving clothes, think of warming oils, eucalyptus/peppermint essences, scented candles and lip balm.

You can also order gourmet coffee or special cocoa mixes. All these are sure to be appreciated and used this season and may be given with a note that says, "hope this helps keep you warm."

Enjoy shopping!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Review: Kitchen Treasures Catering

How do you avoid a mass-produced quality to food at a birthday party without getting the services of the really expensive caterers? Get Kitchen Treasures to cater to you instead!

We loved their food at a baptism we went to and guests loved the food we served them at my sons' party.

Miss Mylene Sediaren was very easy to talk to (although it sometimes takes days before she replies to an e-mail). The staff was a little late setting up (based on the agreed time, not the party). They asked me if they could set up as early as 11 AM for my 3:30 PM party but arrived at the venue at 1:00 PM instead since they were caught in traffic. That was stressful, but the staff humored all my requests and was set up in time for the party. They even offered to chop the lechon and put that on a heated serving dish (no extra charge).

And really, the guests LOVED the food :)

We got this menu from them:
Beef Salpicao
Orange Chicken
Fillet Of Fish With Cream of Tartar Sauce
Pasta Marinara
Vegetable Medley
Buko Lychee With Gelatin
Assorted Pastries
Pandan Rice
Iced Tea

And for the kids:
Chicken Lollipop
Corn Dog
Butterscotch Bar
Orange Juice

Some of the assorted pastries were just ok but some were really great. I think it was also a mistake that we got pasta marinara for the adults (which looked like spaghetti) and spaghetti for the kids, because everyone thought they were the same pasta. Both pasta dishes were great though.

the centerpiece that comes with the package

orange chicken

vegetable medley

pasta marinara

fillet of fish

beef salpicao

chicken lollipop


one type of the assorted pastries

corn dog

As of November 2011, their rates are P300/head (plus 10% service charge) and the selection of menu is as follows:

Unit 904 PYP Mansion II 78 I.S. Diaz St., Cubao, Quezon City
Tel. No.: 927-5330 ; 782-6450 Mobile: 0920-932-6682; 0922-8239109
e-mail: maisediaren @ yahoo . com

LUNCH / DINNER BUFFET MENU at Php 300.00 + 10% Service Charge

Buffet Table With Attractive Centerpiece
Individual Chairs With Seat Cover
Food Attendants
Trained Waiters In Uniform
Flower Centerpiece For Guest Tables

Roast Beef With Mushroom Sauce
Chicken Alexander
Prawn Butterfly With Sweet Chili Sauce or Grilled Prawns
Lasagna or Spaghetti Putanesca or Baked Zitti
Assorted Vegetables With Quail Eggs or Green Salad With Crabsticks
Fruit Salad
Assorted Pastries ( Mini Sansrival / Cream Puff / Brownie Bars )

Lengua Ala Champignon or Grilled Pork With Creamy Mushroom Sauce
Boneless Chicken Teriyaki or Chicken With Ginger Onion Sauce
Fillet Of Fish With Mustard Sauce or Cream of Tartar Sauce
Chicken Baked Macaroni or Tuna Primavera Pasta
Vegetable Continental
White Salad
Fruits In Season

Beef Salpicao
Orange Chicken
Stuffed Prawns With Chili Coriander Sauce
Spaghetti Putanesca or Pasta Marinara
Vegetable Medley
Buko Lychee With Gelatin
Assorted Pastries

Continental Beef Roll
Chicken Pastel With Pastry Puff or Baked Chicken Relleno With Gravy
Baked Fish With Spinach Cream Sauce
Lasagna or Baked Zitti or Spaghetti Putanesca
Buttered Vegetables
Assorted Pastries
Fruit Salad

Beef With Oyster Sauce & Young Corn
Chicken Cordon Blue With Mushroom Sauce
Creamy Pasta With Shrimps & Chicken
Creamy Dory In Olive Oil & Garlic
Assorted Vegetables With 3 Kinds of Mushrooms
Fruits In Season
Banana Crepe

Beef Caldereta or Kare-Kare (Ox Tail & Tripe)
Boneless Chicken BBQ or BBQ Spareribs
Fresh Lumpiang Gulay With Lettuce Cups or Lumpiang Ubod In Egg Wrapper
Grilled Blue Marlin With Lemon Butter Sauce
Korean Chap-Che Noodles
Buko Pandan Salad
Leche Flan or Banana Con Yelo

Chinese Style Pok Asado
Fish Fillet In Black Tausi Sauce
Birthday Noodles
Chicken With Lemon Butter Sauce
White Salad
Assorted Pasties

Baked Chicken Relleno With Gravy
Roast Porkloin In Fruit Cocktail Glaze or Callos Madrilena
Feticinne Alfredo
Prawns With Sweet Chili Garlic Sauce
Mixed Vegetables With Quail Eggs
Fruit Salad
Assorted Pastries

Beef Morcon
Chicken Pastel With Pie Crust
Korean Chap Che Noodles
Baked Fish With Spinach Cream Sauce
Sauteed Vegetables With Hoisin Sauce
Fruit Platter
White Salad

Pandan Rice
One Round Ice Tea
Purified Water

50% Down Payment Upon Confirmation of Order
(Non – refundable if cancellation is made)
50% Full Payment One Week Before The Function

NOTE: Four (4) hours function time, additional Php 500.00/hour for succeeding hours.

I really highly recommend Kitchen Treasures and we cannot wait to get their services again (uhm, after 3 years? haha).

Monday, December 19, 2011

Review of Dazo Hall in Philam Village, Las Pinas

I raved about Dazo Hall back in 2008, when we held my son's first birthday party there. The space and the ventilation is still good to great but I think it's in need of another paint job.

It's not so visible from these pics but the front/stage area was an eyesore with all its little markings. I guess, if metal buildings can rust over time, event halls like Dazo will also show the wear and tear from numerous parties held there.

It was a good idea for us to have a big tarpaulin to cover that area. Future patrons would be well-advised to do the same as well as get their decorator to put huge balloon arrangements and other such stuff in front.

Rental fee is now almost P6,000 (because we also paid for electricity charge for bringing in a sound system, as well as extra hours for setup) with a bond of P3,000 which you can refund a week or two after.

Dazo Hall
Earl Carroll Avenue, Philamlife Village,
Pamplona Dos, Las Pinas City
(871-2285, 872-3596)

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Shop Smarter and More Safely this Christmas

On my way to Divisoria last week, a man sat beside me in the jeep egging the driver to go faster. It turned out, he was trying to get away from the man he snatched a cellphone from.

Cases like this are rampant during the Holidays as even the poor and the sinful are intent to give themselves a Merry Christmas. I know, it's not like people will be shopping with gold bars
in bag, but here are some tips for everyone to shop smarter and more safely:

1) Have a separate coin purse for the transport fares so people don't see the thousand peso bills in your wallet.

2) Don't keep all your eggs in one basket, in case you lose a wallet or someone picks your pocket.

3) Leave valuables behind when going into crowded places.

4) If you can, go on leave on a weekday to do and finish all your shopping. Less people about so even the lines at the cashier will be shorter too.

5) Use your debit/credit card instead, if you're not going to flea markets, bazaars, etc so you don't need to carry cash.

6) Try to shop early, when attendants are still alert and fresh. Shopping in the evening when all store clerks are already exhausted may result in wrong change, left purchases and poorer customer service.

7) Think of a theme so you need only go to one or two places for all your gift-giving needs.

8) Don't shop alone, so that someone will always have your back. Or...

9) Divide and conquer with a friend/partner, so that someone else can already get other things in your list.

10) Keep a watchful eye and err on the side of caution.

Prevent more stress from coming into your life this Holiday season.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Wellness Party Before Christmas

How do you prepare yourself for all the partying and merrymaking this Christmas? By attending a Wellness Party, of course.

Take advantage of the free medical and nutrition consultation as well as the foot/back massage. Come with a friend for a chance to win a raffle prize. First 10 early birds also get a surprise.

Mark your calendars... Dec 17, 2011 at One Esplanade at MOA, 9:00-12:00. After the event, you'll be refreshed to shop again!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Continue Looking Good During the Holidays

Some people, in other parts of the world, will have Thanksgiving as a holiday before Christmas. For us here in the Philippines, it will just be a series of Christmas-y merrymaking along with school reunions and year-end parties.

With merrymaking always comes exhaustion, what with the late hours, stress, the sinful stuff you ingest and maybe even the smoke you're exposed to. How do you continue looking good then?

If you can't stick to healthy fare at parties, at least eat healthy when you're not at a party. Immensely enjoying a buffet need not be so bad if you've been subsisting on light salads, high grain fiber, and fruits.

Drink your Vitamin C and E to give you that glow. Use a lot of moisturizers too.

Exfoliate at least twice a week. Use deadsea salt or a homemade concoction of honey, water and sugar.

Drink plenty of water, expecially if you've had a drink, or had coffee or tea.

Get plenty of rest. Nap before having your lunch. Some 15 minutes of zzz's will do your looks, as well as mental health, good.

Bring extra clothes at the office or in the car for wardrobe changes or unwanted wardrobe malfunction moments. Invoke different effects through accessories or invest in multiwear clothing that can take you from work to a party.

Always have baby wipes to clean and spruce yourself up... and a handy makeup kit for touch ups.

Lastly, smile. The Holidays is for merrymaking after all.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Online Christmas Shopping

Who says you have to brave the crowds and the germs they bring just to finish checking that list of people you need to get gifts for? Shopping online is not just convenient but also allows you to give more unique gifts.

Thinking of monogrammed gift ideas for fave aunts or precious little girls? Go to

Thinking of personalized photo gifts like umbrellas and Christmas tree ornaments? heck out

Got crafty friends? Direct them to digiscrapping sites with coupon codes for the loveliest kits of all.

What's more, sites like these usually offer dicsount or Holiday deals that will help you stretch out your budget as you stretch on your trusty sofa while clicking on that checkout sign.

So, no excuses not to be sharing your blessings through giving gifts, ok?

Sunday, November 06, 2011

St. James the Great Bazaar

The biggest bazaar in the South (of Manila) is coming up so make sure you don't spend ll your hardearned money just yet because the vendors here offer truly unique wares and great finds.

Take, for example, my sister-in-law. I know, we're related through marriage but I really absolutely love the smocked dresses she sells. Dainty Closet will be there to offer you these whimsical clothes for little girls (and some jumpers/rompers for boys, with sizes from infant to four, maybe five years old). Just look for outfits like the ones below:

There are also darling sets perfect for christenings, so really check her wares out. She usually carries handmade Christmas Cards too, that are lovingly made by her friend, which will go well with a present of one of her smocked dresses to some dear girl.

Again, do dress comfortably and make sure you have plenty of cash :)

St. James the Great Bazaar
November 26-30, 2011
9:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Ayala Alabang Village

Friday, November 04, 2011

SuperSale Bazaar Ongoing at WTC

The first day of the SuperSale Bazaar at the World Trade Center was a success and sellers are promising bigger discounts and new stocks for tomorrow and Sunday.

There are plenty of fashion finds, from shoes to bags to other accessories and imported clothes but there are also novelty items perfect for gift giving. You are even sure to find some pieces of rustic bedroom furniture to spice up your abode.

Leave the kids at home so you can better brave the crowds. Dress comfortably, make sure you have enough cash and credit and come with a list of of people you need to buy gifts for.

Entrance to the bazaar costs P100 each, to benefit World Vision. If you want discounted tickets though, just print this flyer to get 20% off.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Rafflecopter: Nifty Tool for Blog Contests

What's one sure thing to perk you up amid those rv financing woes, list of people to shop Christmas gifts for and upcoming flue season? Blog contests made easy courtesy of Rafflecopter! :)

I just saw a friend using it for her blog contest. It allows you to offer a variety of ways for prospective joiners to join, and makes joining so useful because a script just runs from your page. All they really have to do is click, click, click and they're done liking FB pages, or tweeting about your contest or sharing it in Google+. It's so cool, I'm tempted to hold my own blog contest, just to be able to use it.

Next time you're generating contest participants, do try Rafflecopter and have a smoother time at it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Play Pilipinas Workshop Ensogo Deal

Interested parents, educators and school personnel have only one more day left to purchase the Play Pilipinas Workshop Ensogo Deal which will allow any buyer to attend one of the mini workshops at half price. From P1,000, it is now only P500 inclusive of entrance to the play festival.

Just to remind parents as well, there will be six playground installations at the Play Festival so bringing your child is a must. At least, this is one expo wherein you don't have to worry about them disturbing the Banner stand onstage or other displays because they're sure to get busy with the installations. Meanwhile, you can also shop to your heart's content without worrying if they're getting bored.

See you there!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Send a Sense of Home to Family Abroad

Christmas, they say, is the happiest time of the year in the Philippines. We even start on it early since Christmas decorations go up in malls on the first day of September.

It's also the season that loved ones living abroad miss the most. Some even make it a point that they spend Christmas here every year because Christmas in other countries just really do not compare.

Now, if you're like me who has relatives going abroad in time to spend Christmas there instead, how about remembering to send Christmas care packages?

Send true-blue cacao balls (tablea) for them to turn into hot cocoa, or sotanghon noodles for that Noche Buena soup. Send a Christmas lantern, even the cheap ones, and send Nativity scenes. You can also include recorded messages or pictures of old Christmases stored in memory cards as digital files.

Send dried fish too, if you want. I'm not sure how long puto bungbong lasts but suman (sticky rice) will hold well in long-haul flights. Just send something your family associates with Christmas. I am sure they will appreciate it.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Raising a Healthy Generation with Bella and Jake Tan

Due to numerous requests, this seminar has been moved to a different date and venue to accommodate interested parents in the metro.

Understand the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of the child in this 1.5 day seminar with Steiner early childhood education pioneers Bella and Jake Tan of Rudolf Steiner Education in the Philippines. Learn how the quality of nutrition, the type of education, medical interventions, the nature of habits, family issues, and other factors directly impact the health of the child, which in turn influence the health of the adult. Practical tips and suggestions will also be given to address current health and lifestyle issues.

Bella Tan is an early childhood educator, teacher/trainer and mentor for RStEP. She is a pioneer of Steiner/Waldorf education in the country, having introduced it here in 1992. Trained in Australia, Bella initiated the Parent-Toddlers Program in 1997. She also writes children’s books.
Joaquin (Jake) Tan is a natural health practitioner and teacher/trainer for RStEP. He is the author of Healing Ourselves: A Guide to Creative, Responsive, and Self-Reliant Medicine, and of the newly published Healing Ourselves from Medicine: How Anthroposophy can Save Your Life. .


Day One
9:00 Lecture: Childhood & Development Phases
10:30 Break
11:00 Lecture: The Incarnation Process
12:00 Lunch
2:00 Lecture: Re-forming the Inherited Body
(Fevering, Childhood Illnesses)
3:30 Break
4:00 Lecture: Nutrition & Health (Weaning Process, Food, Sleep,
Forming Good Habits)
5:00 End of Day One

Day Two
9:00 Lecture: Dreamy Consciousness of the Child
(Play & Toys, Imagination & Phantasy)
10:30 Break
11:00 Role of the Adult in Nurturing the Child
12:00 End

Who should attend

Parents, educators, health care practitioners, and anyone with a personal interest in their own health and healing!

Seminar fees

P3,650 (excluding meals)
Family discount!
Bring your spouse, co-parent, or one other person significant in your child’s upbringing and you get 50% off!
Other group discounts (not applicable if Family discount is used)
For groups of 3 to 5, 5% discount per participant
For groups of 6, 10% discount from the 6th participant onward

Organized by the Institute for Steiner's Ideas in Practice (ISIP) Philippines
6241 Palma cor Manalac Sts.
Bgy. Poblacion (near Rockwell and Ateneo Professional Schools)
Makati City

For more information, call (02) 899 4675, text 0947 448 5119, or email

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

15-Day Intensive Beginner's Course in Waldorf/Steiner Early Childhood Education 2012

just sharing these for possible interested educators and homeschoolers


(For teachers, parents & individuals interested in self-development)

January 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28
February 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17 & 18.

9am - 5pm

1086 Del Monte Ave. Quezon City

15 individuals

FEES (non-refundable)
REGULAR COURSE FEE (paid after November 15) - P15,000

-Foundation Studies in Anthroposophy
(the philosophical/spiritual basis of Steiner Education)
-Overview of the Process of Childhood and the Waldorf Curriculum
-Understanding the Development of the Child from Conception to 7 years
-Preparing yourself and your kindergarten
-Biography Work
Introduction to...
-Group singing
-Pentatonic lyre playing
-Recorder playing
-Wet-on-wet painting
-Form drawing

- Visit
-Email us at
-Call Bella or Jake Tan 3715688; 09178386315

Friday, September 30, 2011

Guess and Mossimo Sale at Speciabilities

Speciabilities Development Center is hosting a Guess and Mossimo Sale again this year, with other wonderful brands like Vans, Chevignon, American Rag, Avirex and Joejeans. The sale is on October 14 and 15 (Friday and Saturday) from 10 am to 6 pm.

For first-timers to have an idea, shirts that are regularly priced P850-P1,000 in the the stores can be purchased for P300 - P350 (adults). For kids, items that usually cost P650-P800 can be purchased here for only P250 - P350.

Feedback and tips from those who have gone to this particular sale before include:
1) Bring someone with you to fall in line as you rummage around.
2) It could be hot so bring fan, water, towel and DO NOT BRING KIDS ALONG.
3) Some bring eco bags where they put all the things that catch their fancy, then fall in line, and audit their loot while in line.
4) Wear comfy clothes.
5) Bring cash. You cannot use credit cards here.
6) Brand paper bags will be given so this is a good opportunity to buy items for gift-giving.

For more information and directions to the school:
Speciabilities Development Center
11 Binamaka St.
Manresa, Quezon City
Tel: 361-9178 and 364-3460 (visit the website for details on how to get to
the school, just click on the tab 'contact us')

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Gift Ideas for Births, Baptisms and Birthdays

Say, you have been invited to a christening or birthday party, or a baby shower perhaps, what would be a great gift idea?

Forget the usual feeding bottles and onesie sets being pushed in department stores. Mothers nowadays are more particular about their feeding options and few want their precious ones dressed like all the rest of babies out there.

For baby showers, here's a really helpful starter list:
~ digital baby monitors
~ newborn and sized-small diapers (Prokids, Drypers and EQ Dry)
~ tubs and tubs of wipes (unscented)
~ hypoallergenic skin cleanser/soap like Oilatum, Cetaphil, Physiogel, Aveeno or Mustela
~ CD of lullabies and soft music (or even Mozart)

For baptisms and birthdays, feel free to give:
~ toy chests, both wooden or plastic ones
~ book shelves
~ books
~ wooden blocks and other such toys
~ towels (a lot of people give receiving blankets or hand towels, few ever think of giving baby/kiddie towels)
~ intentional, age appropriate toys (around 3 years old, they can already benefit from play dough sets, or brick sets... kids will also benefit from cook/chef sets)
~ arts and craft materials

So, next time you go shopping, skip the generic gifts and show your relative or friend that you are really thinking of them with your thoughtful gift.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Convertible Clothes for this Party Season

The last three months of the year is when there are more births (so, more birthday parties), more weddings (especially around December), more events (Halloween, Thanksgiving) and parties (Christmas parties and reunions).

What to wear to each one, then, without breaking your budget and going into debt? After all, heaven forbid that you wear the same outfit to each party. You may not upload your pictures on FB but your friends might still tag you, and your other friends will notice that you seem to be wearing the same outfit in each one.

One really good answer to this fashion issue is to invest in convertible clothes (also referred to as infinity dresses or multiway tops). Eden's Infinitude is a good example of something you can use to accessorize basic pieces with to achieve different looks. ForMe also has a multiway top. You may also look into owning a Bina scarf, a Pirose scarf or some Vanessa Knox dresses.

Even hearty eaters can just shop for a cheap plus size cocktail dress and embellish it with different scarves or multiway shawls for different occasions. You can employ color blocking strategies with your accessories and also repurpose old stuff that you may have. Turn old sweaters into scarves and old shirts into cute jumpers. Youtube is replete with tutorials and there are a lot of crafty bloggers who can give you step-by-step instructions on how to make a multiway dress.

Feel free to also borrow accessories to spice up your wardrobe with.

So, don't be disheartened with the coming party season. Embrace it and look fabulous till the end of time (because convertible clothes cannot really go out of fashion!).

Friday, September 23, 2011

Play Pilipinas - The First Ever Play Festival in the Country

Advocating play in this time of structured socialization in the young, handy electronics and city living, Play Pilipinas has combined forces with the international community to bring to Filipinos the first ever Play Festival to be held in the country.

Happening at the SMX Convention Center (Mall of Asia, Roxas Boulevard, Manila) on October 21-23, 2011, the festival will be composed of three parts:

~ For P10,500, educators, school owners, play advocates and homeschoolers can attend the 3-day conference and learn from esteemed local (e.g. Dr. Honey Carandang, Dr. Maria Teresa Gustilo-Villasor, etc) and international (Marcus Veerman, Anita Bundy, etc) speakers who are experts in the different aspects involving and affecting play. The conference fee includes a DVD on children's play, an exclusive magazine, the conference kit and snacks.

~ For P1,000, mini-workshops are available to educators and intentional parents who want to acquire certain skills or knowledge on various aspects of play. Examples of topics to be covered are Keeping Playtime Safe (by Toni Tiu of, Ideas for Outdoor Play and Integrating Play in the Curriculum.

Play Pilipinas Registration for the conference/mini workshops will CLOSE on 30 September 2011. Please send your forms to reserve a slot - be it for the forum or workshops to or fax via 02-634 0416.

What is a fair without shopping? And what things will facilitate active play in our young? Well, here's what Play Pilipinas will have enticing you at the festival:
• TOY FAIR: A toy fair with over 50 booths, each featuring the latest tools and toys for active play. Organized by age bracket.

• BOOK AND MAGAZINE FAIR: A veritable showcase of the latest and best titles covering play and child development.

• CHILDREN'S NUTRITION FAIR: A taste of the kind of food that makes for fun, delicious and healthy eating for kids.

• CHILDREN'S FASHION FAIR: An exhibition of outfits fit for active play and other children's activities.

• SCHOOL FAIR: A venue for schools or institutions to showcase their programs and the ways they integrate play into their curriculum/activities.

• WORLD TOYS EXHIBIT: An exhibition showcasing toys and games from around the world.

~ Play Pilipinas held a playground design challenge that invited everyone from the country to "design creative and inspiring playground structures and spaces that will give a sense of place, wonder and fun to entice children, teens and adults to play outdoors." The top five finalists will have their designs installed in the SMX premises for fair guests to enjoy.

~ Another installation that should get fair guests interested is the playground design chosen by President Obama for his daughters (so yes, fair guests will have 6 playgrounds to frolic in).

Entrance to the Play Festival is P100 each, regardless of age. This entitles you to 2 and 3 and some of 1 (Kitchen Playtime talks at Workshop Room Hall #4, for example).

All proceeds will benefit Project Brave Kids, an organization helping children with cancer, and their families. (so yeah, P100 won't be too much to ask... think 6 playgrounds!)

For more information or to download forms, just check out their website:

For updates about the event, LIKE their Facebook page:

See you all there. Let's help a cause, advocate play and tire our kiddos out in one go.

Here is the Play festival brochure:

click on the photo for brochure

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Eggette: Hong Kong Street Food

One real advantage of staying in Hong Kong hotels and hostels is that you really need not rent an apartment with a stainless steel sink, ovens, and all the pots and pans you'd need plus a dining area... because, well, you need not cook. Even just buying off the streets is cheap.

Take for instance this Hong Kong street food staple, the eggette. It's really a lot like pancakes and waffles (except for the hint of coconut) but it looks a little more inviting because it looks different. And for HKD10, it's a cheap, healthy snack you can bring with you as you roam the shopping district that is Granville.

Two places I know for sure where you can find a stall is at Granville Road (at the corner of Shun Yee street). Another one is just past the camera shops along Cameron Road.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

To Bring or Not to Bring Strollers to Hong Kong

Hong Kong is generally stroller and wheelchair friendly as there are a lot of special lanes/ramps in a lot of the major tourist attractions and shopping complex if you can't take the stairs. However, it may mean having to go the long way for elevators or these ramps. Bringing a stroller may also mean having to fold/unfold it when going down MTR stairs, buses, etc.

So, to the question of whether to bring a stroller or not with you for your trip to Hong Kong, here are the things you must consider:

1) How old is the child?
Personally, I think an infant will be better off being worn in a carrier or sling or pouch. This way, you don't have to remove them from the stroller when necessary.

For toddlers up to 3-4 years old, strollers may be the best way for you not to lose them in a crowd. Plus, they will still really complain about long MTR walks (where everyone is in a hurry and all you see are people and exits). They don't mind the walk so much if you're not in a hurry and they can stop to check things out along Hong Kong streets.

2) Who will be in charge of the stroller?
Will you have a designated driver for this one? Who will it be and will he be amenable to keep folding and unfolding it when you ride buses, or to carry it down MTR stairs or Ocean Park steps if you cannot be bothered to look for the elevators and special ramps?

Ocean Park has a lot of ascending or descending terrain

3) Where will you be going and how do you plan on getting there?
If you don't intend for the kids to tag along when you brave shopping districts, and would only really need them at amusement parks, then just rent at amusement parks.

If you're going to so many places in a day, and boarding the bus many times, a stroller may prove to be a hassle since you have to fold/unfold it and stow it away properly. You may also have to worry about where to park such things in the general Hong Kong area. Plus, since you're likely to also put your things in there, you may inadvertently leave a valuable behind when you're parking it aside for a show.

But if you're say, staying in the Nathan, Kimberley, Cameron, Granville area and intend to just shop there, and keep utilizing the MTR, then a stroller will help in keeping the "Are we there yet?" and "I don't want to walk anymore." moments to a minimum.

4) What is the purpose of your HK trip?
If you're after visiting as many sights as possible, then you'd probably be in a hurry to get places and a stroller will slow you down. But if it's a leisurely trip with the purpose of delighting the kids you are with, then a stroller would serve you well as you visit parks too.

5) What kind of stroller do you have/plan on bringing?
If you're like us who own a heavy duty one with shocks and a really sturdy body, it just may be impractical and just more work to bring it along.

If you own a lighter model (most umbrollers are) or can borrow one, then taking the stroller up and down some areas may be easy as pie.

* Other notes/tips:
~ you have to carry strollers up and down MTR stairs but there are elevators within the MTR station and spaces inside MTR cars for strollers and wheelchairs

~ Hubs felt we'd have felt bad about a new one getting roughed like ATV Tires at Ocean Park and fully appreciated their heavy-duty rentals.

~ even 6-year olds will benefit from a stroller at Ocean park becase it's really a huge area to cover on foot. However, a stroller may not be maximized as much at Disneyland since the attractions are closer together so the child will be more likely exploring on foot.

~ for those willing to push and carry (up and down steps), a stroller will also accommodate your backpack and shopping as well as provide a place to nap for your tired toddlers/kids

~ there are designated parking spaces for strollers at Disneyland and Ocean Park, just be careful not to leave any valuables (or the umbrella) behind

~ Strollers/wheelchairs may be rented at Hong Kong Disneyland (HKD60/day with HKD100 deposit; HKD200 deposit if weather forecast suggested rain to cover the stroller rain gear) and Ocean Park (HKD40/day with HKD60 deposit). You get the deposit back upon returning the strollers and you get to keep the name card (a sort of ID attached to the stroller, with your child's name written on it) as a souvenir.

~ Strollers aren't allowed inside the Ocean Park cable car but there are special lanes and allocated area for people travelling with kids/strollers inside the Ocean Express (tram).

Kids can remain in strollers inside the Ocean Express and watch the show from the ceiling screens from there.

Ultimately, it is still your call whether to bring your own stroller or just rent from there. People used to be able to rent strollers from YWCA-HK too but nobody responded to my e-mail. You can also shop for umbrollers there for as cheap as HKD250 and dispose of it later if you really don't want to actually bring a stroller and check it at the airport.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Christmas Shopping, Christmas Savings

September usually heralds Christmas season in our country and shops everywhere start enticing us with Christmas music while putting goodies on sale and displaying new inventories.

But wait. Make sure first that the things are really on sale. And do you really need it, want it, or would you really use it?

Audit your family's wardrobe first. Maybe there are enough hidden treasure in your closet to make you buy just one or two extra shirts for your boys, rather than five. Check the toys first. Check your appliances too. Take stock of what you have, what needs to be thrown away, what may be donated (or put on garage sale, or sold on Ebay) so you'll have a better grasp of what you already have.

Plus, spring cleaning at this point may make you realize what gifts you received that were cute, but also proved totally useless for you (maybe because it was too cute?). Let that guide you in your Christmas shopping for friends and relatives.

Take advantage of groupon deals (but check first if they're real deals) and Ebay or bazaar finds and slowly build on your Santa Claus sack... choose to give a small token instead to those you know can afford their own stuff. Consider baked goodies instead of lavishing other families with gifts. Consider, too, making your own newsletters or digital greeting cards instead of sending out tons that will only gather dust (and waste paper and ink).

Then, all the savings can go to tuning up your car, making repairs at home or finally making that big purchase for a family treat (think plasma tvs or an ice cream maker).

The cost of goods and our way of life has been constantly rising so we really have to be creative now in our gift-giving. Maximize your money and really have a Merry Christmas.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ocean Park - Hong Kong

Our caravan decided to go to Ocean Park first before going to Disneyland because we wanted to:
1) Tackle Ocean Park and its vast area when we're still fresh, and
2) Let the kids go home with the impression of their favorite Disney characters

Ocean Park is a park more for adults and teens, not for little kids. However, there is Whiskers Harbour that's for little ones, full of kiddie rides, a playground and a talking tree. You can easily just spend your whole day there.

The highlights of going to Ocean Park includes:
1) The many adult attractions concentrated on The Summit starting with a ride on the cable car. I don't recommend going on the ferris wheel though because there is no Fast Pass option at Ocean Park and the line there tends to be long, and that big wheel will just spin around once for you. For the same effort, just go on the Ocean Park Tower for the view.

try the cable cars at night too, really breathtaking experience

Ferris Wheel

view from the Ferris Wheel

Ocean Park Tower

2) Must-rides are the Abyss and the Flash, if you're thrill seekers. However, they only accept 12 year olds and above at the Flash plus, many don't really make the effort to go where this ride is because it requires people to go further up. Enjoy relatively shorter lines for these rides too.

the Abyss

view of the Flashh from the Ferris Wheel

The Flying Swing is also very popular and there is another roller coaster being built in the park.

3) It can be quite educational because of the aquariums, pandas, seal/dolphin show.

4) Tickets cost cheaper than Hong Kong Disneyland at HKD280 (adults) and HKD140 (child). Tickets are even cheaper if you get them at China Travel Service or via travel agencies and hotels since they generally get discounts. Plus, Ocean Park is not strict about bringing in food so you can freely bring all the beverage and food you want. Don't be surprised to see some people using shaded places as picnic grounds.

5) Even rental of strollers and wheelchairs is cheaper at HKD40 for the whole day (plus HKD60 deposit). The strollers are a little weird though, made of heavy-duty plastic that can accommodate kids 1 year old and above.

It can also be a pain having to bring these babies up and down some stairs (without the child in it, obviously) but has plenty of storage space for your bags.

6) Lots of trees and mist fans around. Since we went at the height of summer, it was really pretty hot and our mini fans all conked out on us. But it was still generally tolerable because there's still a lot of shaded areas. One really cool area is that roofed part before you go down to the Ocean Theater and there are tables and benches there too so you can easily camp there.

7) Lots of refreshment vendors. Bottled water costs HKD20 and sodas/juice sells for HKD22. Ice cones also cost HKD22. No drinking fountains anywhere though.

I believe roasted corn also cost HKD22 (we bought at the Rainforest Snacks kiosk) and that's really unremarkable so buy the turkey something instead there (because that was really delicious).

8) Get to ride a hot air balloon! Of course, you have to tediously wait your turn.

9) I loved that there were a lot of toilets and changing stations... they're gender sensitive/equal opportunity too.

10) Prepare to be exhausted, not just by the heat (in summer time) but by the amount of walking you have to do. And here, strollers are a must for kids 5 years old and below because you really have to cover a lot of area if you are to see all the attractions the park has to offer. Bring fans, extra clothes, wipes. Plan your visit and know where the shaded/rest areas are. Prepare to walk uphill, downhill and up and down stairs.

One last thing... strollers are not allowed in the cable cars so either ride the Ocean Express going up and down, or do what we did: ride the cable cars at night (just before closing) going up and then immediately go down again via Ocean Express.

Guests can easily go to Ocean Park by going to the Citybus' Ocean Park Express (Route 629) station just outside Admiralty MTR station (Exit B). The bus fares are HK$10.6 for adults and HK$5.3 for children (aged 4-11).

The park is open from 10:00am - 7:30pm. For further inquiries, you can contact them at:
Tel: (852) 3923 2323
Fax: (852) 2554 2089

I just have to say I was disappointed by The Grand Aquarium. I guess it is a bigger aquarium but I preferred the old one (now the Sturgeon Aquarium). I also failed to watch the fountain and lights show that caps the Ocean Park experience. Maybe when we return.

And yes, i'd love to experience Ocean Park when it's real cold and foggy up there.

Please note that we travelled as a caravan of 8 adults, 3 preschoolers and 1 infant and were in Hong Kong between August 22-27, 2011, the height of summer (and summer sale) there.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Full Restaurant - Hong Kong

We had the misfortune to eat at Full Restaurant for dinner the first night we were in Hong Kong. We thought it was your typical Chinese Noodle house but it turned out it was more Chinese-Vietnamese and not really your usual noodle house.

All in all, the food was so-so to good. The staff absolutely didn't know any English so we really just pointed on the Chinese-English menu what we wanted... and still, there were some wrong orders served us which we did not challenge anymore due to the language barrier.

Cleanliness was also an issue. Our group used chopsticks to eat even though we were given spoons and forks because those just looked too dirty to put in your mouth. What's more, the spoons/forks were put in a plastic glass filled with what seems to be tea so, throughout the duration of our stay in Hong Kong, we were not sure if the probably-tea in plastic glasses that were being served us were meant to be drunk, or to sterilize utensils in. Hehe.

this is some sort of yogurt drink with beans

taken before we ate there, haha

For what it's worth, the servings are huge... but I am sorry to say that the best thing about this place is that it's so near Crumbs Frozen Yogurt Station because it's also located at Granville Rd/Shun Yee Street. And shopping is just around the corner from this place.

I really suggest you steer clear :)
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